Articles about voting issues in Ohio.

Ohio: Iowa can teach Ohio a thing or two … about redistricting | Cleveland Plain Dealer

Gerrymandering is a non-issue in Iowa. Since 1981, a nonpartisan state agency has drawn Iowa’s congressional district lines, following strict rules to create compact districts without regard to politics. The legislature still has the final say, but each time the agency’s work has been approved by the legislature without revision. Perhaps Ohio could learn something from Iowa.
In this sixth part of a cleveland.com series – Out of Line: Impact 2017 and Beyond – we examine what could be learned from the Hawkeye State in search of a way to rid Ohio of the politically motivated gerrymandering currently focused on politicians and their political parties rather than the citizens. Read More

Ohio: Should registered voters in Ohio who haven’t voted in six straight elections be purged from the rolls? | Cleveland Plain Dealer

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted appealed a lower court ruling that rejected the state’s policy of starting to purge the registration of voters who fail to vote over a two-year period. Registration is canceled if the voter does not cast a ballot during the subsequent four years or update his or her address. Repeated notices are sent to voters whose registration has been flagged. Organizations who challenged Ohio’s policy say targeting inactive voters for eventual registration cancellation amounts to “voter suppression” that violates the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.  “It is common sense that eligible voters have the right to choose when, how, and how often to vote,” said a statement on the case from ACLU Voting Rights Project Director Dale Ho. “They shouldn’t be disenfranchised for exercising that right.” Read More

Ohio: New congressional redistricting method could be on ballot by next year | WCMH

Who should control the drawing of congressional district maps is at stake as Republican leadership at the statehouse come together to create a panel of four lawmakers who could develop a new method by the end of the year. For months, an effort supported by the League of Women Voters has been underway to gather signatures so a ballot issue could be placed before the people of Ohio. The measure would be similar to one introduced a few years ago. In 2015, voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot issue that restructured how the General Assembly districts will be drawn starting in 2021. To get to that point, four lawmakers sat down and hashed out a plan over a three-hour meeting; though to hear State Senator Matt Huffman tell the story, it was mostly himself and Vernon Sykes working out the details with some help from the other two men in the room, Keith Faber and Joe Schiavoni; this after hearing testimony from the public, of course. Read More

Ohio: Maintenance of Butler County voting machines raises concerns | Journal-News

The Butler County commissioners are concerned the Board of Elections dropped a maintenance contract on its 1,600 voting machines, presumably because they thought they would be getting new ones soon. Commissioner Don Dixon said he understood the Board of Elections may have been trying to save money — the maintenance agreement costs about $85,000 a year — if they thought the voting machines would be replaced soon, but that’s not the case. “If they are under the impression that this equipment is going to be changed out in the next months, I think they are operating under the wrong assumption,” said Dixon, who added that an 85/15 funding bill from the state would not happen until 2018 or 2019. Butler County has about 1,600 voting machines — 150 are currently broken but are used for spare parts, according to the Board of Elections — that are 12 years old. Read More

Ohio: California joins 11 states to oppose one of the ways Ohio cancels a voter’s registration | Los Angeles Times

California’s attorney general joined a group of other states on Monday to ask the Supreme Court to abolish a controversial policy in Ohio that cancels a voter’s registration for not frequently casting a ballot. A federal appeals court earlier this year found the Ohio practice to be illegal. Though California doesn’t use a similar process, state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra signed on to a court filing with 11 other states and the District of Columbia to urge the justices to uphold the lower court’s ruling. “Removing eligible voters from registration lists serves to silence and suppress citizens,” Becerra said in a written statement. “All too often, state policies like the one we’re opposing in Ohio make it harder for our most vulnerable citizens to vote.” Read More

Ohio: New Cuyahoga County initiative will encourage voting | Cleveland Plain Dealer

Cuyahoga County announced Tuesday – National Voter Registration Day – that it will hiring a voting-rights coordinator as part of a new initiative to promote the right and need to vote. The county plans to lead efforts in voter engagement, support a voter awareness summit for youth  and partner with libraries to promote online voter registration options for residents. “The right to vote is critical to our democracy,” County Executive Armond Budish said in a statement. “At a time when some are trying to make it harder to vote, we need to do more to help people get registered. Cuyahoga County is dedicated to making voting as accessible as possible for all of our residents.” Read More

Ohio: Sen. Sherrod Brown and others criticize Ohio’s voter culling process in Supreme Court briefs | Cleveland Plain Dealer

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown joined critics of Republican Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s process for purging inactive voters from the state’s rolls today in filing briefs at the U.S. Supreme Court. Brown, a Democrat who held Husted’s job from 1983 to 1991 and worked in Congress to pass the National Voter Registration Act, argued that Husted’s procedure for voiding registrations of people who haven’t voted in several years “would wrongly cancel the registrations of thousands of eligible Ohio voters.” “Citizens have the right not to vote for any reason, and states cannot penalize them for doing so by canceling their registrations,” Brown’s legal brief said. “Ohio’s Supplemental Program does exactly that because it uses registered voters’ failure to vote as the trigger to subject them to the change-of-residence confirmation process.” Read More

Ohio: Lawmakers look for new way to draw congressional lines | Dayton Daily News

State lawmakers plan to take another run at changing how Ohio’s congressional districts are carved out — a politically charged issue that has eluded reform for years. Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, said this week that legislative leaders will announce details on a congressional redistricting study group this week. “Regardless of which side of the aisle you fall on, it’s worth airing out that discussion and seeing if we think there is a better process than what we have now,” Obhof said. “I’ve expressed some concerns in the past and I maintain those that any time you’re chipping away at something that has traditionally been a responsibility of the Legislature you should be cautious about that but I think there is plenty of room for us to have discussions and have meaningful opportunity for reform in the coming months.” Read More

Ohio: What Ohio can learn from Arizona to eliminate gerrymandering | Cleveland Plain Dealer

Thanks to Arizona, there is an alternative to allowing elected politicians – focused on their self-interests or those of their party – to draw the congressional district boundaries every 10 years. Arizona voters in 2000 approved a different way. They changed the state constitution to establish an independent commission to do the work. Challenged in the Supreme Court in 2015, the use of an independent commission is now established as a legal alternative. State legislatures do not have to be involved. Perhaps Ohio could learn something from Arizona – ideas that could help Ohio devise a system to draw maps by focusing on the interest of the citizens instead of politicians and their parties. Read More

Ohio: Parties in lawsuit call Ohio purges voter suppression | Associated Press

Groups challenging Ohio’s system for removing inactive voters from rolls are disagreeing with the state elections chief’s arguments and the Trump administration’s contention that the purges are legal. The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York-based public advocacy group Demos said in their latest U.S. Supreme Court filing that targeting registered voters who fail to vote in a two-year period for eventual removal from the registration rolls, even if they haven’t moved and remain eligible, is a tool for voter suppression. Read More